We’ve all seen the YouTube videos, watched the TV shows, and read the latest articles on prepping and survival that show stocked food pantries, high tech gear, arsenals of guns, and stockpiles of ammo, which are all necessary for an ultimate survival situation where you’re held up in the comfort of your home. However, considering the fact that ultimate survival in a real-life scenario will likely be short lived, these means will be abandoned, reducing one to the mere little things they can carry on their person and in a backpack.
It doesn’t take much consideration to conclude that bugging in is a much better option than bugging out. Leaving the safety and confines of one’s dwelling in exchange for the hostile outdoors and elements beyond would ultimately be a last resort. Though, placing any widespread disaster or emergency scenario under a microscope, it quickly becomes evident to me that the last resort, sooner than later, will likely be what we’re faced with. One will be forced to abandon their two-ear food and water supply, leaving behind all but a single firearm or two and a handful of bullets. At this point, it’s the little, often overlooked, things that will matter.
Here’s a scenario for you: Any major disaster, be it natural or manmade, that leads to the collapse of society will inevitably lead to the same outcome. A very short time after the initial impact of such event, complete social unrest and self-rule will swell in the streets, leaving you face to face with Marauders intent on pillaging all that you have. The defense from such will be possible only for those who are prepared. Still, consider the fact that in such an event the onset of Martial law will ensue, and shortly afterward the door-to-door confiscation of food, water, and firearms will commence. If you haven’t already packed up in your doomsday vehicle and headed for the hills at this point, due to military check points and road blocks, you’re not going to. Deciding to stay and protect the home front in this environment will likely leave you facing a DHS squad, militarized Police, NATO, or even Russian troops, which will undoubtedly land you in a FEMA death camp or even dead on the spot. Choosing to bug out on foot before this situation aspires may be the only chance for any form of survival, reducing one to the mere little things– the absolute essentials.
Accepting the probability that eventually Patriots are going to be reduced to the bare necessities of survival, I’m going to review seven “little things” to be considered by all prepper’s.
- Small Caliber Firearm. While the number one thing for survival may be water, all the water on the planet will do you no good if you meet confrontation and end up dead only minutes after implementing your bug out plan. Therefore, I’m placing a small caliber firearm at the top of my Little Things List. For me, this is a .22 caliber rifle. Though there are those who would beg to differ, I have many valid points to argue in favor of this. I’ve heard the ploy that a .22 caliber rifle simply does not pack the power necessary to sustain in an actual firefight. To this I agree, to an extent. In an actual firefight, if your opponents are wearing some form of body armor, even your standard .223, 7.62, or 5.56 round will require a more accurate shot to an exposed area of the body, being that most modern day body armor is designed to withstand multiple rounds from the high caliber assault style rifles, leaving a .22 caliber just as effective and capable of taking out a combatant given an accurate shot. After all, a .22 rifle has been proven to be affective at a further distance than most people can accurately shoot it. Beyond this, a .22 is capable of taking down small game at a good distance and even bigger game such as deer and wild boar. Furthermore, in any survival situation, engaging in a firefight would, at all cost, be avoided. The objective is surviving, which will require knowledge in camouflage and hiding. Being a one man army would likely not get you far in your endeavor to bug out, despite the caliber of rifle you are wielding. Another argument I have in favor of a smaller caliber rifle is the amount of ammo one is able to successfully manage. If you have ever lifted a thousand rounds of .223, it doesn’t take long to understand how cumbersome it would be, along with your other gear, to effectively carry such a load. Now consider that a thousand rounds of boxed .22 bullets, weighing in at 6 pounds, can be conveniently transported in a fanny pack or pouch in a backpack, leaving ample room for other essentials. The final point I would like to make is the popularity of a .22; every gun owner I know has at least one. This means .22 Ammo will likely be easier to obtain, should you survive long enough to run out. If you have room and weight allotted, carrying a pistol on a utility belt or the waist belt of your backpack is highly recommended. This too, in order to transport numerous rounds of ammo, should be a smaller caliber, such as a .22 a 380 .40 cal. or 9mm. While .40 caliber and 9mm ammo is getting on the heavier side, it is still possible to effectively carry multiple rounds effectively.
- Water Filter. While the larger countertop, tank-style filters are nice, it would be at best a bit awkward to transport one of these bad boys when the dung hits the ventilator and you’re forced out on foot. A much more convenient choice would be a Life Straw, or the equivalent thereof. This little thing measures a length of 8.625 inches with a 1.25 inch diameter and weighs less than 2 ounces. Being that water is absolutely essential to sustaining life for any amount of time at all, a water filter of some kind, feasible for a backpack, is crucial. I must impress that it is absolutely imperative that you get a small, portable water filter in your bug out bag. This is one item that cannot be overlooked, because without it you will likely ensure a short span of survival in the wake of a contaminated mud-hole. If you’re lucky you’ll die from dehydration before giardia takes claim. While the Life Straw got the 2005 invention of the year, there is an entire line of portable water filters to choose from. On my last backpack trip I used a Sawyer Bag; extremely impressed I was. Made to filter up to a million gallons, this little thing will not soon run out of use. On the other hand, a Life Straw is rated to filter up to 264 gallons, nonetheless, that will still go a long way when it comes to aiding in survival. While potable water tablet, bleach and even carbon can be an effective means of purifying water, they require a bottle or container of some sort to first put the water in, as where a filter straw, or bag with a filter nozzle, allows one to draw water directly from a contaminated source, making this little thing a must have for your bug out bag.
- Edible Wild Plants Field Guide. The next thing you will likely need, in order to operate in a competent fashion, should you survive this long, is food. While it’s possible to transport three or even five days of food in a backpack, we must look at a long-term resolve for nourishment. There have been many cases of people starving to death while beating through the bush, ignorant to the fact that they could have been eating the bush. I have heard warnings against learning edible wild plants from an illustrated book. While it is unfortunate that there are misleading books and articles on this subject, with a little research one can select a reliable guide and make a purchase with confidence. There are as many field guides out there as there are subjects in the field. Obtaining one that focuses strictly on edible wild plants will be much more in-depth on this subject than an all-around field guide focusing on numerous subjects pertaining to survival. Though there are many good field guides on the topic of wild edible plants, it can be almost impossible, unless you’re already a trained expert in this area, to know whether the information in the guide will feed you, make you sick, or even kill you. After all, there are many poisonous plants out there that can easily be mistaken for something else, when you’re merely comparing it to an illustrated page in a book. Therefore, selecting a guide with clear pictures of the specimen is preferred over any animation. One must be able to clearly identify what it is they’re about to eat. Just to note one, Edible Wild Plants by Thomas Elias. This guide contains nearly 400 color photos on more than 200 species of edible wild plants. In short, the best way to know if the guide you have contains accurate information is to cross reference the information with a known reliable source, or take advice from someone educated in this area. A good place to look for recommendations on any field guide would be right here at survivalblog.com. In any case, I put a field guide on Wild Edible Plants high on my list of little things. I believe every prepper should have one readily available, though moreover, I believe it should be read and the information obtained before the dire necessity of having to inundate any wild plant into your daily diet. Carrying the knowledge, opposed to carrying the book, will save weight and space for other crucial items in your bug-out bag. A Wild Edible Plants Guide will aid in survival long after the food in your pack has been consumed and cycled through the digestive system.
- Shelter. A day has passed since you bugged out, you’ve been able to stay camouflaged well enough to avoid any possible hostile encounters, or maybe not and you’ve already exchanged fire in order to defend yourself. At any rate, you’re still alive. The three-liter water bladder in your bug out bag went dry hours ago, and the filter in your pack has already come in handy. You were able to pick some wild edibles and conserve the food in your pack. You’ve been unable to spot or meet up with any fellow patriots, and it’s getting late. It’s time to think about hunkering down and settling somewhere for the evening. Suddenly what you need is shelter. When it comes to shelter in a hostile, bugged out scenario where you’ve been forced from your home, likely by a rogue government declaring Martial Law, you’re gonna want to forget about the conventional means of outdoor shelter, i.e. a tent. A tent in this situation can be a trap. It’s hard to see what’s going on around you, making it easy for anyone to sneak up and take you by surprise. Tents can be heavy, and the lighter backpacking tents are simply too constricting and difficult to quickly climb out of should you need to. For these reasons I suggest a 6×8 Tarp, ten feet of 550 Para Cord (exclusively for this purpose), and an emergency Mylar blanket. With these three items one can quickly setup a Lean-to shelter that will keep the water out, the heat in, and give you 180 degrees of view. When selecting a spot to erect your lean-to, be sure to set it up so that something is blocking approach from behind, like at the base of a cliff or in front of some big boulders or even in front of a thicket where passage from behind will be prohibited. Under canopy of a lean-to you can build a fire close enough so that the heat radiates in, and this is where the emergency Mylar blanket comes in. Rather than wrapping yourself in the blanket, merely attach the blanket, with tape or other means, to the inside of the tarp, this will reflect a lot of heat. Be sure not to set the front of your lean-to too high; I recommend about four feet. This will allow ample room to sit up and low enough to retain heat. Also, the lower your lean-to the less conspicuous it will be. The Mylar blanket can serve a two-fold purpose– reflecting heat and preventing detection from one or many of the thousands of drones that will be flying overhead. As many are aware, in Afghanistan, the Taliban would attach emergency blankets to the underside of big umbrellas, when they suspected drones overhead they would simply deploy these umbrellas and be undetectable. Being that an emergency blanket reflects up to 95% of heat, inferred cannot detect you if you’re standing under one. Though, mind your camp fire; it can get you found out.